Denver-based CH2M Hill has contracted to provide program management services for building the Tres Amigas SuperStation in Clovis, N.M.
The SuperStation project site is at the intersection of the nation’s three grids—the Eastern Interconnection, Western Interconnection and the Texas Interconnection. At the heart of the project are high-voltage DC superconductor cables, which are, in essence, superconductor electricity “pipelines.” These pipelines combine conventional underground pipeline construction techniques with two highly complementary electric power technologies: HVDC superconductor power transmission cables and multi-terminal AC/DC power converters.
The result is a high-capacity, expandable electric transmission pipeline that is underground, easy to site and access, highly efficient and controllable, offers greater security and avoids complex cost allocation issues for interstate transmission, said Phil Harris, the former CEO of PJM Interconnection and current CEO and founder of Tres Amigas.
Once completed, the SuperStation will tie together America’s three power grids for the first time in history. It will serve as a market hub and balancing authority, enabling the economic transfer of thousands of megawatts of power among the three interconnections.
“Similar to highway rotaries used for traffic flow control, multiple power transmission lines from each of the three interconnections will feed power into and out of the SuperStation through multiple alternating current/direct current converters, each connected by DC superconductor cables,” said Don Zabilansky, president of CH2M Hill’s Power Group.
Tres Amigas, which will be a balancing authority, will help ensure the efficient and reliable flow of power from multiple conventional and renewable generation sources in all three power grids to customers across a wide area of the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Construction of the SuperStation is projected to start in 2012 and complete in 2014. Under the terms of the contract, CH2M Hill will provide overall program management services and logistical support to ensure that the project remains on schedule.
CH2M Hill is providing similar services for other ambitious, high-profile projects such as serving as the Delivery Partner for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games being hosted in London, the expansion of the Panama Canal, and Masdar City, a multi-billion-dollar project taking place outside of Abu Dhabi’s downtown that aims to be one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments powered by renewable energy.
“CH2M Hill is pleased to assist Tres Amigas with this landmark project,” said Zabilansky. “The Tres Amigas SuperStation will enable cross-regional marketing of clean electricity, enhance power grid reliability and security, and provide new opportunities for renewable energy producers. This strategic infrastructure program will transform the way electricity is delivered to customers across the United States utilizing the most advanced technology.”